Wednesday 8 July 2009 10:13
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Obama steps in to correct Biden on Israel
After Vice President Joe Biden suggested that the US would countenance Israel attacking Iranian nuclear sites, Barack Obama steps in to clarify the White House stance on the issue.
Obama steps in to correct Biden on Israel
In an interview with by cable television broadcaster CNN, President Obama was asked whether Washington had given Israel the go-ahead to strike Iran. He answered, "Absolutely not."

The response came after Biden on Sunday said the US would not stand in the way of Israel in its decisions on Iran.

“Israel can determine for itself... what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else,” Biden said. “We cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do when they make a determination -- if they make a determination -- that they're existentially threatened.”

The remarks were widely interpreted as a long-awaited US consent for Israel to wage a new war in the Middle East by launching airstrikes on the distant and fortified nuclear installations in Iran.

Iran says its activities are in line with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and are aimed at the civilian applications of the technology.

Israel, however, has long referred to Iran as an “existential” threat with a regime hell-bent on a nuclear war.

The US and its European allies, meanwhile, accuse the Tehran government of conducting clandestine efforts to obtain nuclear weaponry, warning of an imminent nuclear arms race in the volatile Middle East.

President Obama, who is on an official visit in Moscow, said his administration seeks to resolve the Iranian issue "through diplomatic channels."

“We can't dictate to other countries what their security interests are,” said Obama, referring to continuous Israeli threats to attack Iran.

"What is also true is, it is the policy of the United States to try to resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear capabilities," he expounded.

Following Biden's remarks on one of the world's most sensitive subjects, there was debate as to whether he was attempting to send a tacit signal to Iran.

President Obama, however, implicitly ruled out the notion.

“I think Vice President Biden stated a categorical fact, which is that we can't dictate to other countries what their security interests are," he said.
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